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Gardening suggestions for browning leaves on snail vine

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: August, 2011, Page 100


Q: I planted a snail vine last fall and it grew well. Now many of the leaves are yellowing, browning and dropping. I cut back on watering, but that didn’t help. What’s going on?

A:
Much of the leaf litter is old growth from last year, and it’s natural for snail vine (Vigna caracalla) to drop its older leaves. “I periodically take a broom or stick to my snail vine and knock the dead material loose, which is a simple way to remove old leaves without pruning,” says Maricopa County Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Vynnie McDaniels. “The plant will look more vibrant without clusters of dead leaves. Also, all that dead plant material collects dust, which in turn attracts pests that thrive in dusty conditions.”

McDaniels cautions against reducing watering, which stresses the plant and puts it at risk with the prolonged summer heat. After temperatures drop below 100 degrees, the plant can be lightly trimmed (no more than 30 percent) to stimulate fresh growth and blooms. Generally, snail vine will die back during cold winters. In early spring, prune it back hard to points where you see new growth. It will send out new shoots quickly as temperatures warm.


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